US consumer prices rise 0.3 pct. in October

EFE

The United States' consumer price index (CPI) rose 0.3 percent in October compared to the previous month and 2.5 percent relative to October 2017, the Labor Department said Wednesday.

The month-to-month increase was the steepest since January.

Excluding the volatile price categories of food and energy, underlying, or core, CPI rose 0.2 percent last month and 2.1 percent for the 12 months ending in October.

The figures released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics exceeded economists' expectations for a 0.2-percent rise in consumer prices.

Given the steady increase in that inflation gauge, the Federal Reserve is expected to continue its program of gradual interest-rate hikes.

The Fed's policy-making Federal Open Market Committee raised its benchmark federal-funds rate in July and then again in September but left it unchanged at between 2 percent and 2.25 percent at its most recent meeting last week, citing a slowdown in the growth of business fixed investment.

Due to the current robust economy and 3.7 percent unemployment rate in September, the lowest since December 1969, the Fed is expected to approve another rise in the federal-funds rate target when the FOMC meets again on December 18-19.

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